SOAS University of London

Centre for Global Media and Communications

Dr Somnath Batabyal

  • Teaching
  • Expertise
  • Publications


Somnath Batabyal
Centre for Global Media and Communications

Lecturer in Media in Development and International Journalisms

SOAS South Asia Institute

Academic Staff, SOAS South Asia Institute

Dr Somnath Batabyal
Email address:
020 7898 4415
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Russell Square: College Buildings
Office No:


Somnath Batabyal has a Master’s in Anthropology and a PhD from SOAS and was Post Doctoral Fellow at the University of Heidelberg, Cluster of Excellence from 2010 to 2012. Before he joined academia, Somnath was an award-winning investigative journalist and had worked in both print and television in India and the UK for over a decade, an association he continues as occasional columnist and regular radio commentator and analyst. His work focuses on the politics of news production and understanding journalistic practices through grounded ethnography. He is also interested in Development discourse, especially concerning environmental politics, climate change narratives and their influence on policy.

Somnath is also fascinated by fiction in research and writing and exploring the spaces between fact and possibility. In his forthcoming work The Migrants (working title) Somnath uses a disorganised narrative that plays in the shadows of subjectivities, in fragments of memory and possibility, re-storying lives lived, half-lived and unlived. In 2013, Somnath published his first work of fiction, The Price You Pay, which explores the interconnected worlds of journalism and policing in Delhi from the perspective of a young crime reporter. He is presently commissioned to write an OTT series on political spin doctoring and journalism in India.




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PhD Students supervised


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Regional Expertise
  • South Asia
Country Expertise


Authored Books

Batabyal, Somnath (2012) Making News In India: Star News and Star Ananda. New Delhi; London: Routledge.

Batabyal, Somnath (2012) The Price You Pay. New Delhi: HarperCollins.


Batabyal, Somnath (2022) 'Lucky'. Gitanjali and Beyond, (6), pp 160-183.

Batabyal, Somnath (2015) 'Illusions of Empowerment: Television News and Assamese Identity'. Television & New Media., (16) 4, pp 361-369.

Batabyal, Somnath (2012) 'The story of Nandigram'. Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies, (26) 2, pp 261-273.

Batabyal, Somnath (2010) 'Constructing an audience: news television practices in India'. Contemporary South Asia, (18) 4, pp 387-399.

Batabyal, Somnath (2007) 'Dilemmas of ethnographic research: The practitioner/academic quandary'. Networking Knowledge: Journal of the MeCCSA-PGN.

Edited Books or Journals

Batabyal, Somnath, (ed.), (2014) Environment, Politics and Activism: The Role of Media. New Delphi; Abingdon: Routledge.

Batabyal, Somnath and Chowdhry, Angad and Gaur, Meenu and Pohjonen, Matti, (eds.), (2011) Indian Mass Media and the Politics of Change. New Delhi; London: Routledge.

Book Chapters

Batabyal, Somnath (2014) 'New Politics, Old Paradigms: Urban Environmentalism and the Reshaping of New Delhi'. In: Schuler, Barbara, (ed.), Environment and Climate Change in South and Southeast Asia. Leiden; Boston, MA: Brill, pp 185-209.

Batabyal, Somnath (2013) 'Understanding the Crisis of Indian News Media: A Case Study of Star News and Star Ananda'. In: Bandhopadhaya, P.K. and Das, Rajesh, (eds.), Mass Media and Society in Post Globalization Period : Issues and Approaches. Kolkata: Union Bridge Press.

Batabyal, Somnath (2011) 'Editorial, Where are Thou?'. In: Batabyal, Somnath and Chowdhry, Angad and Gaur, Meenu and Pohjonen, Matti, (eds.), Indian Mass Media and the Politics of Change. New Delhi, London: Routledge.

Pohjonen, Matti (2011) 'Introduction'. In: Batabyal, Somnath and Chowdhry, Angad and Gaur, Meenu and Pohjonen, Matti, (eds.), Indian Mass Media and the Politics of Change. Routledge India.

Pohjonen, Matti and Paul, Soumyadeep (2011) 'Theory and Practice in Emerging Digital Cultures in India'. In: Batabyal, Somnath and Chowdhry, Angad and Gaur, Meenu and Pohjonen, Matti, (eds.), Indian Mass Media and the Politics of Change. Routledge India, pp 184-207.

Batabyal, Somnath (2010) 'New Delhi's Times: Creating a Myth for a City'. In: Chaturvedi, Bharati, (ed.), Finding Delhi: Loss and Renewal in a Megacity. New Delhi: Penguin.

Batabyal, Somnath (2008) 'Journalism, news content and Objectivity: A re-appraisal'. In: Dev, Anjana Neira, (ed.), Creative Writing, A Beginner’s Manual. New Delhi: Pearsons, pp 200-203.

Batabyal, Somnath (2005) 'For God’s Sake, Be Objective'. In: Narula, Monica, (ed.), Sarai Reader 5, Bare Acts. New Delhi: Sarai, pp 472-480.


Batabyal, Somnath (2022) 'An anthropologist amongst big data: Making Sense with Prof Andrea Cornwall and Somnath Batabyal'.

Suresh, Mayur and Batabyal, Somnath (2022) 'Making Sense with Mayur Suresh: An ethnographic immersion in a courtroom in New Delhi'.

Batabyal, Somnath and Newton, Scott (2022) 'Making Sense with Scott Newton'.

Opinion Pieces / Media / Blogs

Batabyal, Somnath (2022) The Daily Show on Monocle Radio.


This list was last generated on Friday, 19th August 2022, 20:39 Europe/London.